#parent | #kids | Sour Patch Kids sets up April Fools’ ‘Prank Fund’ for mischievous TikTok users

Dive Brief:

  • Sour Patch Kids, the candy brand marketed by Mondelez International, is doling out cash prizes and candy to select TikTok users who post videos of their pranks for April Fools’ Day, according to a press release.
  • The “Sour Patch Prank Fund” will reward 25 followers with $1,000 and 100 followers with free candy. Starting March 27, users can share a video of their shenanigans with the #SourPatchPrankFund and #Sweepstakes hashtags as a text overlay to enter the running. Sour Patch will comment on videos to notify the winners and is encouraging them to share their earnings with the people they played a prank on.
  • The marketer teamed with five TikTok creators known for prank content to spread the message. After April Fools’ Day was put on hold last year due to COVID-19, Sour Patch is aiming to resurrect the tradition with an eye on social media and upholding safety guidelines.

Dive Insight:

April Fools’ Day, an occasion where marketers frequently deploy attention-grabbing stunts, was waylaid in 2020 as the grim realities of the pandemic and life under lockdown first settled in. Sour Patch’s latest campaign indicates there could be a resurgence in activations around the holiday this year, albeit with tweaks that recognize COVID-19 protocols and the climb in social media usage that’s occurred under the health crisis. The Mondelez label is tying the concept back to its animated Kids mascots, who frequently mess with people in the brand’s advertising to emphasize its sour and sweet qualities.

Sour Patch is hoping the promotion gains organic traction on TikTok with the promise of cash and candy prizes distributed through its “Prank Fund.” The marketer is also working closely with a team of creators, @TheCrazyGorilla, @VirziTriplets, @SometimesMamaYells, @SantiAndMikay and @TattedBoy92, some of whom have over 1 million followers and have helped to make prank-style content a popular category on the video-sharing platform owned by ByteDance.

Social media prank videos can get out of hand as users ignore their personal safety and that of others to chase views and engagement. YouTube in 2019 introduced a policy in 2019 that banned “dangerous challenges and pranks.” TikTok has been embroiled in similar controversies due to viral challenges that involve discriminatory behavior and bullying.

Sour Patch outlined a set of rules that prohibit such content, as well any videos that feature physical or emotional harm and inappropriate material like drugs, alcohol, swearing or nudity. Participants must be 18 or older to qualify for the rewards and secure consent from anyone that appears in their video. Campaign materials illustrate the types of pranks Sour Patch is searching for, like zip-tying a roll of toilet paper.

While the contest is age-gated, it could still be a means for Sour Patch to engage TikTok’s young, active user base. The app last year overtook YouTube as the most-used by teens and preteens in the U.S., according to a recent analysis by MMGuardian. The video-sharing platform has been adopted by nearly one-third (32%) of those cohorts, and commands an average of 105.1 minutes on its service per day among users, per MMGuardian. YouTube recently shot back by recently expanding its beta test of a TikTok-like app called Shorts to the U.S.

Sour Patch claims to be the most-followed snack brand on TikTok with roughly 871,500 followers.

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